Not even the end of January and I've already finished two books, and am reading another two (one is a bloody huge weighty academic tome, so I'm multi-tasking and reading a quick-read fiction at the same time).
But since I'm claiming two bingo squares for my first two books of the year, I felt I ought to do a quick review.
The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith. Fills the 'TV tie-in/made into a TV series' square.
I'll be honest, crime fiction isn't usually my thing. I don't normally go out of my way to read crime fiction, unless it's a cross-genre thing, like for instance a M/M romance with crime/mystery, or perhaps a sci-fi crime setting. But I watched the TV series of this book last year and enjoyed it far more than I expected to, so when I saw the book going cheap in a charity shop I decided to give it a go (also, the fact that I realised I could use it to fill a bingo square *might* have played a part in my decision... Competitive? Moi?)
Like the TV series, I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. It's a very easy read, and it's also got that 'just one more chapter' thing, where you take it to bed intending to read for maybe half an hour before sleep, and the next thing you know it's nearly midnight because you couldn't put it down. In fact, the night I finished it I ended up staying awake until literally nearly midnight on a work night because once I got past a certain point there was no way I was putting it down before the end. It's fast moving and relatively easy to read, although there is a *lot* of plot and characters and detail to keep up with.
The main characters are interesting and likeable. The fact that the main character is an amputee isn't just a gimmick, it's got plot relevance and does affect things within the story, but at the same time I thought there wasn't an undue emphasis or fetshisation of it. Strike is not a 'disabled hero', he's a hero who also happens to be disabled, which is definitely something to be applauded. If you're familiar with the TV show, Strike as described in the book is rather less physically attractive than the actor they cast to play him (Tom Burke), so I found myself mentally overlaying the actors when I pictured the characters, although to be honest that tends to happen whenever you read a book of something that you've seen a film or TV version of anyway.
If you watched the TV programme and liked it, I would definitely recommend the book. To my knowledge there are at least three books in this series so far, and I'm sure I read somewhere that the author has plans for up to eight. I discovered book three in a charity shop at the weekend and bought it, and then managed to get book two in the library, and I'm already over halfway through book two. So I suppose that by itself is a recommendation of how much I liked it.
A Little Gay History, by R. B. Parkinson. Fills the 'diverse reads' bingo square
This non-fcition book is published by The British Museum, and I picked it up last year when the museum had a LGBQT 'trail', highlighting exhibits that had links or associations with LGBQT lives or culture or history. It's a relatively small book, it only took me two evenings to read it from cover to cover, but it was an interesting read. Basically, it features artefacts from the British Museum that have links, however tenuous, with the theme. Obvious ones are the Warren Cup, and the busts of Hadrian and Antinous. Less obvious ones are gender-ambiguous religious/cult statues. There are quite a few where it's not necessarily the object itself, but an object that leads into discussion of a historical figure with an LGBQT association. Sometimes, as in the case of a 11,000 year old carving of two figures embracing and, possibly, having sex, it asks the question, why, when the gender of the figures is ambiguous, should we automatically *assume* that they are heterosexual?
I did feel a few of the objects were rather stretching the argument in places, and due to the focus on artefacts at the British Museum it was necessarily limited in what could be featured. But if you have an interest in the subject, it's certainly an interesting and easy-to-read introduction, and could be used as a jumping off point for more in-depth study and investigation.
lj book bingo card 2018